Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

I’ve been watching DAYS OF OUR LIVES every morning for the last two weeks, and I’m happy to report that the results are already visible: I’m happier, more cheerful, and generally ready to tackle the day. It’s like a cross between crack and brain bleach! The former because the hilarity of Nicole antagonizing just about everybody (and giving off major sparks with Philip) just sets me rolling … and the latter because after the past two weeks of “my” show, AS THE WORLD TURNS, I sorely need something to dissipate the steam building between my ears. 

See, I tend to get a little overinvolved in my soaps. Fortunately, this is seen as a plus in my current profession. Unfortunately, this means that my habits of yelling at the TV, squeeing over hunks and babies, and totally ‘shipping my favorite couples has accompanied me to the office. When I’m “on the job,” interviewing and writing, I’m as evenhanded as I can possibly be. But when you plunk me in front of the TV (which is easy to do considering there’s one on my desk), I get tunnel vision. I get sucked in. I get passionate. And what am I most passionate about? The issue of diversity on soaps. Which means, yes, it’s ATWT’s Ameera who has me about to burst a blood vessel. 

I know a lot of viewers are furious about Ameera coming between Noah and Luke, but it’s a hallmark of every root-worthy couple on daytime that somebody is going to try and break them up somehow. Power to Nuke. It’s their turn. Unfortunately, it’s at Ameera’s expense. She’s a plot device who makes fellow noob Sofie look like a character who has been in Oakdale for decades. Ameera has no dreams, no motivation. She isn’t just played as foreign, she’s played as naive, and that’s ridiculous. I’m sorry, but any Muslim girl whose mother was liberal enough to befriend an American soldier isn’t going to act like some twit who just fell off the falafel truck and doesn’t understand when Noah says, “I like boys.” The sheer fact that Noah had to marry her to solve her immigration issues for her is so mind-boggling that I still haven’t stopped seeing red over it. Allah forbid anyone follow Holden’s sensible advice of hiring a lawyer. No, the Snyders must save the little foreign woman by wedding her to a strong, American man…whom she will, of course, fall in love with even if he’s gay! If that’s not staggeringly insensitive enough, then we have today, where Ameera kissed said American man. Come on, we all know she’s going to get shot down by Noah like he’s wielding an anti-aircraft missile. Is making her SO moony really necessary? Speaking of which, Casey got it with both barrels, too, considering that Ameera dashed his hopes rather cruelly. Why she would turn down a heterosexual cutie pie who was actually interested, I have no idea. 

I understand that ATWT is trying. I do get that. But it’s not enough when Islam is a religion that’s still a mystery to many Christian Americans and the war in Iraq is such a hot-button issue. Portraying this girl as a cross between moron and man-stealer does cultural understanding no favors. Similarly, actress Tala Ashe is done no favors. She is lovely and has a definite spark. She could do so much. ATWT could have made Ameera a good example of the immigrant experience; someone who could be a strong, positive role model for young girls growing up watching soaps and desperately wanting someone to connect with. Instead, the dialogue she has to spout rings hollow, and the spinelessness of Ameera must be Hell on her back. I hope Ashe has a good deal with a chiropractor. 

At least I have DAYS to numb the pain.

originally posted on soapoperaweekly.com

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